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Discussion Starter #1
A lot of people use something like lemon shine along with Dawn or cascade to clean brass in the tumbler. The active ingredient in any of the "lemon" cleaners is citric acid. It is also sometimes called lemon salt. It is what gives a lemon its' sour taste. It is also used as a food preservative and to protect the color of certain foods.

Citric acid is an organic acid that does not attack metals, but is a very effective degresser and cleaning agent and it is non-toxic, bio-biodegradable, and is sometimes used as a spice in cooking.

I buy the dry 100% powder and make my own tile and floor cleaner and also use it in the tumbler for cleaning and shining brass. I attached an image below showing the difference it can make in the appearance and cleanliness of the brass. The brass on the left was tumbled with cascade and lemon shine. The brass on the right was tumbled with cascade and citric acid powder. I put one piece of lemon shine brass between the citric cleaned brass just for comparison. The citric acid powder cleaned brass is several shades brighter and the flash holes and primer pockets are much cleaner.

The other good thing about the powder is it is cheap. You can buy 2 lbs for $6.00 from Amazon and that is enough to last about 2 years. http://www.amazon.com/Citric-Acid-O...1372276524&sr=1-3&keywords=citric+acid+powder
My recipe is 3 lb of brass (any kind or caliber), 7 lbs of cold water (about 3/4 of a 1 gal milk jug), 5 lbs of SS pins, 4 tablespoons of cascade, and 3 teaspoons of citric acid powder. Tumble for 2 to 4 hours, then rinse with clean cold water three times, and dry on low heat in the oven.
 

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Re: For you guys that wet clean with a Thumbler

Stev32k,

I like your idea saving a few dollars on the citric product. It looks to me there is oxidation going on with the left, lemishine brass. I see this happen with any solution when the brass is dried with too much heat or left in direct sunlight. I use 1 tbs of Lemishine and the same amount if Dawn, the brass cannot get any brighter, so I'm thinking the left group either had a lower Ph during the rinse or they got too warm dryng out.
 

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Re: For you guys that wet clean with a Thumbler

I am completely new to reloading so perhaps I should not put my two cents in just yet, But then restraint and good sense have never been my problems.

My local Wally World says it carries Lemishine but I haven't been able to score any there yet so I had to substitute. I use a few drops of lemon juice from one of those plastic lemons you get at the supermarket, for the citric acid and a tea spoon of 20 Mule Team Borax for the water softener and a tea spoon of Dawn for grease cutting. 4 hours in the Thumlers and the brass come out looking like new minted cases. I pour the bucket into a colander submerged in a pan of water and just swirl the brass around with my hand for a while to separate the SS media. After that I rinse the brass in the colander with a sink sprayer till the water stops foaming. The clean brass goes into an old food dehydrator over night to be sure its dry. Then it gets bagged to wait till I lean more about the loading process.
 

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Re: For you guys that wet clean with a Thumbler

Stev32k,

I like your idea saving a few dollars on the citric product. It looks to me there is oxidation going on with the left, lemishine brass. I see this happen with any solution when the brass is dried with too much heat or left in direct sunlight. I use 1 tbs of Lemishine and the same amount if Dawn, the brass cannot get any brighter, so I'm thinking the left group either had a lower Ph during the rinse or they got too warm dryng out.
I don't think the brass on the left has any oxidation. The picture is not very good and the brass on the right makes them look bad. By themselves they look very good, but when compared to the citric cleaned brass they look several shades darker. I'll put up a better picture later.
 

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Re: For you guys that wet clean with a Thumbler

siplace,

gotta love the thumlers, its interesting to hear the different solutions coming to surface as the wet tumbling craze expands. Using borax on brass scares me a little, but I'm no chemist. Maybe some more digging before I stray from the suggested dawn and lemishine (or citrus powder thanks to stev32k)

Here's a shot of .38 and .45 that I tumbled in the exact same manner, 1tb lemishine with 1tb dawn and steel pins. After rinsing and separating I cradle the brass in a t-shirt and roll it back and fourth to remove the remaining moisture on the outside surface of the casings. The noticeable difference is on the 38's, a tarnished, oxidized appearance became apparent after drying them in the sun. The 45's dried out overnight in the garage spread out on the shirt. Anytime I have applied heat/sun to the drying process the brass tends to tarnish. Just some of my findings playing with the thumlers. I'm not in search of the most beautiful reloads, but finding the quickest, most efficient method to get the job done.
 

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Re: For you guys that wet clean with a Thumbler

I have been experimenting with wet tumbling for about 6 months. My results show that yep, brass comes out of the tumbler really clean and shiny, but soon begins to tarnish (not the green stuff, but the brass starts to dull and lose it's shine within a week and handling). With wet tumbling, I needed to rinse and separate the media from the brass, not a big deal but I had to leave the reloading shack and rinse. Then I either had to dry the brass or it'll have water spots and in wet Oregon, mebbe take a week to dry just left out on a paper towel.

So, for my brass, I'll continue to vibrate with 50-50 cob and walnut, with a dab of car polish and my brass stays shiny and clean months later and I don't have to dry the brass in my toaster oven or use a heat gun...

FWIW
 

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Re: For you guys that wet clean with a Thumbler

I have been experimenting with wet tumbling for about 6 months. My results show that yep, brass comes out of the tumbler really clean and shiny, but soon begins to tarnish (not the green stuff, but the brass starts to dull and lose it's shine within a week and handling). With wet tumbling, I needed to rinse and separate the media from the brass, not a big deal but I had to leave the reloading shack and rinse. Then I either had to dry the brass or it'll have water spots and in wet Oregon, mebbe take a week to dry just left out on a paper towel.

So, for my brass, I'll continue to vibrate with 50-50 cob and walnut, with a dab of car polish and my brass stays shiny and clean months later and I don't have to dry the brass in my toaster oven or use a heat gun...

FWIW
I tried a vibrating cleaner when I first started reloading. The noise and the dust are what got me interested in wet cleaning and I just like the brass looking like new. After loading as few as 100 rounds of vibrated brass I have to take my press (LNL)apart and clean under the shell holder plate and primer slide. There is so much residue left in the primer pockets and flash holes after dry cleaning that the press gets very dirty very fast. With wet cleaning I can load a thousand rounds and still not have any debris on the press.

I dry all my brass in the oven on the lowest heat setting I can get and have not had any tarnish. Some of the cases have been setting several months since cleaning and they still look just as good as they did out of the tumbler.

As for using Borax in the tumbler - I doubt it will help in cleaning brass. It's main use in laundry detergent is to increase the effectiveness of chlorine bleach and then it needs to be in hot water to do much good. It will form small amounts of hydrogen peroxide in hot water and that aids in the bleaching process.
 

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Re: For you guys that wet clean with a Thumbler

The noise and the dust are what got me interested in wet cleaning and I just like the brass looking like new. After loading as few as 100 rounds of vibrated brass I have to take my press (LNL)apart and clean under the shell holder plate and primer slide. There is so much residue left in the primer pockets and flash holes after dry cleaning that the press gets very dirty very fast. With wet cleaning I can load a thousand rounds and still not have any debris on the press.
Spot on +1;)
 

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312shooter

Borax and brass are good friends. 20 mule team borax is about the best brazing flux you can buy. The white stuff on a brazing rod is pure borax. It cleans the molten brass so it flows and makes a more pure molecular bond with the steal.

In this case though the small amount used acts as a water softening agent allowing the Dawn to work better.

I am only using this method till I can get some Lemishine with out paying almost as much for postage as for product. I'm too cheep to do that.

I have also thought about using a few drops of Tarnex in the water, but I am afraid of that because that stuff leaves a residue behind. Once I get about a pound of brass I know I am going to scrap anyway I will try it and tumble the scrap brass with it. Then see how hard it is to rinse the residue off and how long the shine holds up.
 

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Hmmm. I've been vibrating and tumbling for a long time and never had any media and/or residue in my brass nor on my press. I must be doin' sumpin' wrong...
 

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312shooter

Borax and brass are good friends. 20 mule team borax is about the best brazing flux you can buy. The white stuff on a brazing rod is pure borax. It cleans the molten brass so it flows and makes a more pure molecular bond with the steal.

In this case though the small amount used acts as a water softening agent allowing the Dawn to work better.
Thanks si, appreciate the knowlege! I'm gonna give it a try..
 
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